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Christmas music facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Pipetaborchristmasminstrel
A Christmas minstrel playing pipe and tabor

Christmas music are songs that relate to Christmas and New Year's. The music is normally heard during the holiday season.

Music was an early part of Christmas and its celebrations.

During the Middle Ages, the English people combined circle dances with singing and called them carols. Christmas carols in English first appeared in a 1426 work from John Audelay.

Traditional Christmas carols

Nicolae Ionescu - Children carolers in Bucharest, 1929
Child Christmas carolers in Bucharest, Romania 1929
Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1954
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958), a British composer who helped to popularise many medieval and folk carols for the modern age

Songs which are traditional, even some without a specific religious context, are often called Christmas carols. Each of these has a rich history, some dating back many centuries.

A popular set of traditional carols that might be heard at any Christmas-related event include:

Popular Christmas songs

More recently popular Christmas songs—often Christmas songs introduced in theater, television, film, or other entertainment media—tend to be specifically about Christmas, or have a wintertime theme. They are typically not overtly religious. The most popular set of these titles—heard over airwaves, on the Internet, in shopping centers malls, in elevators and lobbies, even on the street during the Christmas season—have been composed and performed from the 1930s onward. "Jingle Bells", "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas", and "Up on the House Top", however, date from the mid-19th century.

The largest portion of these songs in some way describes or is reminiscent of Christmas traditions, how Western Christian countries tend to celebrate the holiday, i.e., with caroling, mistletoe, exchanging of presents, a Christmas tree, feasting, jingle bells, etc. Celebratory or sentimental, and nostalgic in tone, they hearken back to simpler times with memorable holiday practices—expressing the desire either to be with someone or at home for Christmas.

Many titles help define the mythical aspects of modern Christmas celebration: Santa Claus bringing presents, coming down the chimney, being pulled by reindeer, etc. New mythical characters are created, defined, and popularized by these songs; "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", adapted from a major retailer's promotional poem, was introduced to radio audiences by Gene Autry in 1949. His follow-up a year later introduced "Frosty the Snowman", the central character of his song.

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